One more for our Gift Guide Series, chances are that if you are reading this is because you into interiors and you wouldn’t mind getting a gift or two which end purpose is to decorate your home… We’ve got just the right thing!
And by ‘the right thing’ I mean things that make you smile, fill your heart with joy every time you see them, and make your house feel even more like the home you love.
Whether your ‘thing’ is wall art, plants or adding textures, have a look at my picks below as there is something for everyone.
I’ve added the links to each product below, clockwise:
2019 Stendig Calendar £60 (last few units available)
Our last orders to arrive before Christmas will be shipped on the 19th, so make sure you order by the 18th of December, this Tuesday to receive your orders in time.
This is the second one of our Christmas gift guide series, and it is one for those not afraid to go BIG!
If you are an interior lover like me you wouldn’t see anything wrong in getting a cosy armchair for an end of year treat, or a fluffy new rug for the winter ahead this time of the year. In fact, I have once got an armchair as a birthday gift and I loved it, it still holds a special place in my home!
I’ve added the links to each product below, clockwise:
Our last orders for furniture and rugs to arrive before Christmas will be shipped on the 19th, so make sure you order by the 18th of December to receive your lovely orders in time.
Look out also for the next gift guides coming out soon: Gifts under £20 and Gifts for the Interior Lover.
Each year I seem to be more into Christmas, the excitement seems to be getting bigger since i’ve had children, and I won’t lie, I like it.
It is great to have this magical world to step into and take a break from reality, making their Christmas special and fun takes some effort (hello Insta-mums!) but the best part is that we are making memories together, whether it is baking together, opening advent calendar windows, counting down the sleeps or making a tradition of seeing Christmas light displays.
With making memories becoming a priority and shopping becoming less of a Christmas ‘activity’, being able to shop conveniently from home is a must, especially at a time when we are also very conscious to support small businesses, shop ethically and make smart choices.
I have put together a series of Christmas gift guides for you, starting with today’s gifts for £20 and under.
There are ideas for stocking fillers, secret santa gifts and gorgeous treats for your loved ones.
I’ve added the links to each product below, clockwise:
Our last orders to arrive before Christmas will be shipped on the 19th, so make sure you order by the 18th of December to receive your lovely orders in time.
Look out also for the next gift guides coming out soon: Go Big This Christmas and Gifts for the Interior Lover.
This is the best time of the year arguably! Autumn is going strong, Christmas is starting to pop up everywhere and the excitement of the holiday season starts to take over. Shopping lists, anyone? (And only arguably because I’m a summer person and live for the beach, which I know doesn’t make any sense when I live in the UK, but I blame my British husband for that!)
One of my favourite things to do this season is to decorate! Whether it is to make the home cosier for the winter ahead, put Christmas decorations up, or prepare for the new year, I’ve been pinning non-stop for inspiration for a few weeks now.
Last year the shop sold out of Stendig Calendars quite early on and I ended up being a little too disorganised to get my own, we also had family arriving to stay and lots of changes taking place that I felt like the new year arrived before I could prepare for it. This time, I’m getting ready though!
I love seeing photos of such an iconic piece fitting into so many different styles and how it is so versatile to adapt to each individual home. If you’re thinking of getting a Stendig Calendar for yourself or as a gift, the options are endless. I have put together some inspiration and I am sharing my favourite ways of decorating with the Stendig Calendar on the images below…
*Sources are linked to each image
With a touch of bohemian style
The perfect monochrome scheme for the Stendig Calendar
It brings the kitchen to life and breaks the dark wall nicely
The perfect office accessory
The industrial decor from UTRDecorating fits the Stendig Calendar style perfectly
And who would’ve also thought it’s multi-functional? You may have noticed in a couple of the images above, past month pages rolled up and stored for something special…
UTRDecorating shows how you can re-use each page as wrapping paper!
Isn’t this gift wrapped with a Stendig calendar page super cute? I want one of those under my Christmas tree…
*in collaboration with David Lloyd Milton Keynes
Do you also start the week with the best intention to hit the gym, eat healthy and then spend some time pampering yourself whether it’s a manicure, a new haircut or just some time on the sauna or reading a book?
I do! And then reality kicks in… being a mum of two kids under four and running a business, there is just not enough hours left in the day to attend to that much needed yoga class, or a coffee and chat with friends.
The summer was particularly busy for me in every aspect, on top of everything I had renovations at home and additional projects to prepare for. Then September arrived and if felt like the weight of the world was hanging on my shoulders. I was doing too much and spreading myself too thin. Not being able to cope with the daily demands of my business and family left me in a very emotional state.
It was no surprise that I started having anxiety attacks. If anyone reading this has had them, you’ll know the horrible feeling of helplessness along with all the other symptoms that come with it. Hands down, the worst month I had since I can remember. September also marked two years since I was made redundant from a long-term job and found that I was pregnant with my youngest. In those two years, I haven’t had much of a break and kept pushing myself as if saying no was a failure - BIG mistake!
I have always been quite good at going to the gym regularly and exercising, even it I could only fit in one session a week, I would do it. It didn’t happen in September though, as the demands of my business/life were too high I did not find the time to have any kind of me-time.
It was time for a change…
After a month away, I returned to David Lloyd in October determined to put myself first. If I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be enough help when taking care of my family and business.
Exercising has made a whole world of difference to my mindset and energy levels, and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I join Blaze classes weekly and those are amazing to get in shape and re-boot! (I added some of my IG stories snapshots below)
If you haven’t heard of Blaze, it is a dynamic new workout combining mixed martial arts, intense cardio and strength training, it's a HIIT boutique-style class synced to up-beat, motivating dance music. Everything about the class is prepared carefully for us to have the best experience. There is loud high-energy music (a must when I work out!), mood lights and (the best part!) cold peppermint-infused towels ready for you when you finish. Those towels are always a treat after you’ve worked out hard. When you want to lose weight and shape up, the recommendation is to attend three Blaze sessions per week.
Trust me, those 45 minutes in class fly by, so you’ll definitely be left waiting to come back for more.
I used to take Pilates classes years ago (pre-kids) and I always loved them. I missed pilates! So last month I also decided to go back and now I’m asking myself why didn’t I do that sooner!? I’ll definitely be keeping that up in my weekly routine.
Not just for exercising
It is definitely not just for exercising though, I have found David Lloyd to be a safe place for me when I just need time out from my routine, perfect to re-energise and also to be productive.
I have recently spent a couple of days there working. There is plenty of space to work, a quiet working zone if needed, and everything I need for the day.
The smashed avocado from their menu always ends up being my lunch choice, it’s delicious! Plus the convenience of being already there when I want to work out. Win-win!
Beats every coffee shop I’ve ever worked from…
Our Sunday morning routine is pretty much like this:
-Get everyone ready and out the door by 8am to head over to David Lloyd (it takes a lot of organising and saying ‘let’s go we’re late’ about 20 times but it is all worth it)
-I take a Blaze class or run for 20 minutes, followed by a Pilates class
-In the meantime the girls stay in the play area with the Mr and plenty of snacks!
-He then works out and I order early lunch for the girls. They normally request beans or eggs on toast, that easy…
-We then head back home, and by the time we get back the youngest is ready for her nap, perfect timing!
It’s our weekly ritual, we get to spend quality time with the girls, get a work out session in, and also gets them plenty of play time. My 3-year old is always asking to go to David Lloyd to play, that’s how much fun she has there!
Now that I have realigned my priorities I feel much more in control of my life at home and business. This doesn’t mean at all that I am slowing down, it just means that I am working smarter (not harder!) and making time for the things that matter: ME TIME is finally in!
*This post was written in collaboration with David Lloyd Milton Keynes.
It will probably come as no surprise that admiring great interior design is one of my favourite things to do, give me browsing amazing interiors and home decor ideas on Pinterest over going out any evening and I’ll take it. And via Instagram I have found many other interior lovers that would probably do the same!
I wonder though, does anyone else find themselves browsing design hotels? I find it one of the best sources of inspiration. There is something very intriguing and almost daring about design hotel interiors. They’re designed to transport you to a different place and spoil you endlessly. What’s not to love about that.
I have recently written an article for Trivago Magazine on London Design Hotels, and my seven picks are so stunning that they must be up there with the best design hotels in Europe - not just London.
I’ve added a sneak peak here in the pictures to follow. To find out which other design hotels in London made the cut have a read at the full article here.
Charlotte Street London Hotel by Firmdale Hotels
The Green Room Bar in The Curtain London Hotel
Perhaps I've been watching too much Property Brothers, don't they just make renovating properties look so easy?! Last month we had our own fixer-upper project and it was certainly interesting. Jonathan (the renovation twin that does all the dirty work if you haven't watched the show) would be disappointed that we didn't take any walls down, but for a first reno it was challenging enough without it. Let's save demolishing walls for the next one!
If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that July pretty much consisted of spending any spare time planning and renovating a buy-to-let property that we recently got. I loved the challenge, though hard when you are running a business, have two young children and renovations going on in our own house too, we initially wanted to get the work done in two weeks which turned out to be a nearly impossible task when you are depending on builders and handyman during the hottest weeks of the year. So four weeks later, it was done.
The property is a two bedroom terraced house in Milton Keynes, and it was looking sorry for itself (I'm generous when I say that!) when we got the keys. The renovation included installing new kitchen and bathroom and decorating throughout amongst other things that needed fixing/updating. Check out how it looked before we started the work.
Not only it looked tired, it was also not functional. The kitchen was old and poorly planned with layers of vinyl stuck on the floor, the living room looked very dark with brown carpet and beige walls, the stairs were unsafe with gaps between them and no banister. There was no heating, considering we are in the UK you'd freeze there in the winter! The bathroom: blue carpet... sums it all. Old carpets in the bedrooms, stains and marks throughout. In the garden, more TLC needed.
As the property is for letting, we wanted to keep it neutral enough to be appealing to anyone moving in who would want to make it their own. So there is a lot of grey and white, and it works perfectly to give the property a modern uplift and bring it into 2018.
With central heating installed, new flooring and decorating throughout at hand, we still had the task of planning the kitchen and bathroom renovations, the installation of the banister and the garden updating. It took many days (and nights after work from the Mr mainly) to get everything done in those four weeks, including sourcing and setting timelines of when we would need everything in. That meant picking flooring, tiles, and paint colours and designing the layout of the kitchen we sourced from (yes, it really was from there) Ebay! Which was the biggest bargain we got for this house by the way...
Bedroom with freshl painted walls, new carpet and radiator.
The flooring in the living room was uncovered when removing the brown carpet, and all internal doors were replaced.
The steps on the stairs were blocked off and a banister was installed.
We sourced the kitchen from Ebay from a new build so it was brand new, however it needed adapting to the space which meant units trimmed and doors adjusted. For the cost of £521.11 it was worth all of it and it meant we could get a new kitchen within our budget. The worktop was sourced separately.
We chose white metro tiles from B&Q to keep the kitchen bright and airy.
New tiles, vinyl flooring, and white paint made a world of difference in the bathroom
The towel rail and copper piping finish the bathroom renovation nicely
Aside from the delay in getting the builders and handyman in when we needed them and getting them to meet deadlines, it was a smooth project. We could've done a lot more however being a rental property we had to keep the budget low and be selective with our spending. The property is now rented and as much as we are so glad it is completed and there are no more late nights or 7am shopping trips to B&Q, I'd love to take on more renovation projects.
For the time being though, I'm quite busy preparing mood boards for the makeover of my bedroom, play room, living room, kids bedrooms... (let's just pretend Mr Room Alive won't be reading this...) so watch this space!
A few weeks ago I was so excited to find out that I will be exhibiting at the Autumn Fair this September. This month has been eventful in the best of ways - from finding out that I have been one of the selected 12 winners to win a stand at the Autumn Fair sponsored by Theo Paphitis #SBS, to designing the stand and seeing my new collection in the flesh! All sorts of 'happy-dance' were happening at The Room Alive HQ (aka my home office/studio)!
There couldn't be a better opportunity to launch my new collection then at the Autumn Fair, so I got everything prepared to launch my new design a bit sooner than I anticipated: I introduce to you the Artist Brush collection.
Here's a preview of what's to come
The new Artist Brush collection includes wallpaper in three different colour ways, and four different cushions in a stunning cotton linen blend. One of the things I am most proud about is that all our products are printed and made in England, by local makers and handmade wherever possible to support other small businesses. The new collection is no different.
The new Artist Brush Cushion in Grey and Pink
I am also very excited to introduce the colours in this collection. The grey and pink in the picture above is one of my favourite combinations, and this design also comes in dark grey and blue & yellow.
What else is new...
- I am also introducing a new colourway to our best-selling collection Palm Leaf Garden. Blue and pink has been one of my favourite colour combo for as long as I can remember, and I have been wanting to introduce it for a while now, I am so glad that it will very soon be available to order in cushions and wallpaper!
- The grey and white colour that we already stocked on cushions will also be available on wallpaper. I can sense lots of dreamy walls being decorated in the near future!
- For stationery lovers out there... we have a new collection launching with 10 notebooks to stock and collect, in A5 and A6 sizes. I can't wait to be able to show you those!
If you are a buyer/retailer and would like to visit us at the Autumn Fair, head over to stand 2F21 from the 2nd until the 5th of September at the NEC Birmingham, and get in touch with me for a VIP pass to visit as our guest. More info on the Autumn Fair can be found here.
If you'd like to shop for the new collection and products, look out for more news on Instagram, or register your interest here and you'll be one of the first to know when it's available to order (very soon!)
Firstly let me just get the obvious out of the way... I love Mallorca. Who doesn't?! I’ve visited a few times and that is the place where I want to live one day. When it came to choosing a destination to go on our first holiday as a family of four, that’s the first place that came to mind. Plus we couldn't face a long haul flight so two and a half hours away from home it was.
I started looking for hotels with this wish list in mind: great kids facilities for the girls, a splash pool, of course great decor, a gym, near a beach and good food. Oh and within our budget!
When I came accross Fergus Hotels I knew I found what we needed. It has great Scandinavian-Bohemian style with endless facilities for kids and a good selection for adults too.
There are Fergus hotels located around the island and also one in Ibiza (on the wish list for sure, although that will have to be a child-free holiday, adults-only hotel demands) I loved the idea and the look of the Fergus Club Europa for our holiday. Although it is a compact hotel, it is really well planned and equipped to keep kids and parents entertained and relaxed throughout.
It is located in Peguera which was a 30-minute cab drive from the airport. I love this side of the Island, not too far from Palma, with a great local feel to it, access to beautiful beaches and good facilities. If you like doing some local shopping whilst away, it has a great selection of small boutiques in the Boulevard selling trendy woven beach bags that you need in your life, just because you can never have too many.
Nothing better than letting the pictures do the talking though, so here it goes:
There are plenty of lounging areas around the hotel, indoor and outdoor, for whatever mood you are in. We went early June an had a great week weather-wise. I know we won't have the luxury of travelling whenever we want once my eldest daughter starts school next year, but this time we chose the week after half-term and it wasn't too busy but there were still plenty of younger children around for them to play with.
Talking of kids play time, the fantastic splash pool was a hit amongst the girls (and I admit I loved it too!)
The splash pool was great for the girls and great for us as it was also located right next to a bar with unlimited coffees, drinks (including a different cocktail each day), and also unlimited ice cream. The dream!
There were other brilliant facilities for the kids, such as a games room with movies, plenty of games available and also a racing track. For the younger ones there was a kids club which was just like taking them to messy play or spending an afternoon at nursery. They loved it!
And the food... If you love Spanish cuisine, this is the place to be.
The menu is varied and there are different dishes everyday with endless options, and at dinner time there is also a buffet just for kids. The Italian restaurant had a smaller selection, it was so good I could have dined there every night.
Have I even mentioned the endless dessert options yet? Oh and the wine on tap?
Yes, wine on tap!
And there was endless coffee available at by the pools, bars and lounge areas, I was really spoiled the whole week...
After being tempted by so much delicious stuff, I made up for it by taking a spinning class which they offer everyday. There are basic facilities at the gym and just enough to get a good holiday gym session in. I managed a few times in the week and was quite pleased with myself! There are also stretching and yoga classes in the morning if that's your thing.
We had a fantastic time in Mallorca once again, and can't wait for the next time! Have you got your next holiday planned?
*We paid for our holidays and received a 10% discount booking directly with the hotel. I only share places that I would recommend and return to, and we loved Fergus Club Europa - thank you for an amazing week!
Anyone else here browses Instagram and Pinterest endlessly for office inspiration goals and never get tired of it? Not just me then..? Great! I'm a geek when it comes to pinning and saving inspiration pics for office space. And some of my favourite ones are...
Lust Living spotty monochrome office, which looks lush with Olivia's choice of gold accessories and the most stunning light pendant.
Lust Living spotty - gold - monochrome office of dreams
Little Big Bell also gets a top spot on my office inspiration list, the mix of bright colours and the composition she creates is so beautiful, I could work in Geraldine's office all day long!
Little Big Bell - Geraldine's choice of colours and designs creates a perfect inspirational space.
Once you've decided on your office style and colour scheme, it's so easy to get spoilt for choices when it comes to decorating it, there is a lot of cool stuff out there! I've put together a handy selection of stylish accessories to decorate and style your office so you can create the look that will keep you inspired.
1. For your desk
Accessories for your desk need not only be pretty - priority number 1 you'd say?! :) but also need to be practical and serve a purpose.
- Blush pink concrete candle holder doubling up here as a desk tidy for paper clips and hooks: I love how versatile this piece is, and also how unique as it adds a touch of colour with minimalist style.
- A5 Notebooks so you never miss an important thought or idea. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and it is so handy to have notebooks to hand when you're in the middle of something when a brilliant idea just comes to mind. Get those ideas on paper as you never know what could come of it! The A5 notebooks pictures are also gold foiled so that's extra glam for your desk.
2. For your shelves + walls
A home office is the perfect space to use and abuse of all those motivational prints you love. I love a gallery wall in an office like Little Big Bell's choice above. Simple and to the point, they can uplift you when you're having a tough day, and keep you focused when procrastination threatens to take over. The 'Goals' and 'Girlboss' prints above are available framed in a selection of colours or unframed for you to create your own display.
3. To decorate your wall
To make it the most productive space in the house, the walls must be just right. If you love pattern and it inspires you, then hanging wallpaper like Just Living did in her gorgeous office above is the way to go. Looking at a beautiful pattern will make you feel good, and that's what you want from this space!
However if you feel that you couldn't stare at it for long though, consider wallpapering one of the other walls, as it would add depth and beauty to your home office and still make you smile every time you walk past it.
The wallpaper above is 'For the love of dots' , and it's available in paste the wall or self-adhesive format.
Once you've done all the decorating and styling, expect nothing less than to feel unstoppable. Now let's go and get ready to conquer the world, fellow girlboss! :)
The only thing better than having a delicious afternoon tea, is having a delicious afternoon tea in the candy-coloured room of a stylish hotel. Fact.
I was spoiled to that last weekend. We went to the Cotswolds with Mr Room Alive's family for a long weekend, and there are two things we always do when we visit the Cotswolds:
1- Visit Daylesford Farm (read more about it here)
2- Treat ourselves to afternoon tea
Little did I know when we bought our Groupon vouchers to Bowden Hall Mercure Hotel in Gloucester... It's a hotel 4 miles away from Gloucester, tucked away on the edge of a small village. The main thing I was looking for when booking was a place that would be dog-friendly as that would be a deal-breaker since we were travelling with Sky our dog. We were glad to hear they allowed dogs in the bar and could serve our tea there, so off we went.
Imagine the pleasant surprise when I walked in to find a reception room with pink walls! Followed by many more pink-coloured rooms after that one. The afternoon tea of dreams! But although the title of this post includes afternoon tea, expect to see a lot more decor than food!
The reception at Bowden Hall Mercure Hotel
The restaurant was beautifully laid out but we were happy to sit in the lounge area. It worked out really well as we had a whole lounge area to ourselves, not bad when you're a party of 8 plus two kids and a dog. It was actually great to have some space for the girls to move around without having to worry about bothering other guests.
The staff could not have been more lovely and helpful! They brought water for Sky, juices and toast for the girls, and plenty of drinks to keep the conversation going. Any meal out with the kids is eventful to say the least, so I actually didn't take pictures of the food... everything was delicious, although I have to say the scones really stood out... The atmosphere was very relaxed, the views of the grounds were stunning so after eating and drinking for three hours we had a walk and a play in the hotel grounds.
I have taken lots of pictures of the decor so I hope you enjoy scrolling down to some delicious interiors with lots of pink!
*This post is not sponsored by Mercure or Groupon, we bought the vouchers ourselves, I just wanted to share the stunning interiors!
We love kids Birthday parties, that's actually how we socialise these days (my 25-year old self would've never imagined this!) and as an interiors stylist amongst many other things I really enjoy planning them!
A few weeks ago my youngest one turned one... The year went by way too quick, there's no doubt. Since we had a special occasion to celebrate and in turn a great excuse for a party, I decided to throw her a party and no better theme than Unicorns to use when my 3 year old is obsessed with them.
Unicorns are everywhere at the moment, there is so much inspiration out there! So my challenge was to put my own stamp on a theme that's so popular with the best mix of decorations I could find and/or make. Challenge accepted... here's what it looked like:
The Table Decor
I used pink, purple and mint green as the main colours, the mint green was great to break up the pink and keep it fresh.
- To create the table skirt, I used strips of coloured crepe streamers cut to size and laid across the table to create this effect. It is a really affordable way to make your table stand out!
- I then used a white table cover on top of it and started placing the sweets and favours around the table. It was fun to play around with the different heights of cake stands to create a table full of surprises.
- I also used props such as the house shelf, the brass letters spelling her name, and pink vases which I used to support a bouquet of marshmallows each.
- On the cake I added tall pastel candles by Talking Tables and I love how it added even more height to the 3-tier cake.
- The sweets placed around the table are a mix of chocolate, caramel and coconut traditional Brazilian sweets which is a must-have in any of our parties. Not only they taste delicious, they are also great to decorate any table.
- I also used macarons and my home-made peanut butter fudge to decorate the table, and the fudge also doubled up as favours as I placed them in Talking Tables cupcake holders and wrapped them in clear cellophane bags. I added custom-made stickers to make them even more special.
- I didn't want to add the typical Unicorn & Rainbows backdrop that seem to pop up a million times when you search Pinterest. Instead, I decided to create our own composition of paper garlands, hanging fans and honeycomb decorations.
- I also used confetti balloons on either side to finish decorating the area where we placed the table. They were a big hit with the guests and also with the birthday girl!
Unicorn Party Boxes
I printed and also laminated them all for a more durable finish.
It was time consuming to cut them and as I chose a Kraft box instead of white I gave up on cutting the eyelashes (as the white around it was too obvious!). Instead, we drew the eyelashes directly on the boxes and coloured them in with a black marker.
Hot Dog Bar
What's a party without food!? The main event was a Hot Dog Bar! I'd been wanting to do one for ages so I finally nailed it. This is how I did it:
The Hot Dog Bar prep before the party
- I used a piece of chalk fabric cut to size to use as a base for the bar, it works perfectly as you can place whatever you want on top of It and write as much or as little as you want. All you need is a chalk pen and this one was really easy to use.
- The pots for the toppings and the chalk board/frame are from Ikea. I spray painted the frame to use as a chalk board for parties, and it comes in so handy!
I hope you like our Unicorn party + Hot Dog Bar! Are you planning a party at the moment? I'd love to know about it, drop a comment below!
*This post is not sponsored - I just wanted to share how I decorated it and help another mama throw a cute birthday party! It contains affiliate links for some of the items used.